We started the day off with lunch at Rossopomodoro next to the Sanctuary. I don’t know for sure, but I have a feeling that the place is part of a chain that would be somewhat akin to TGIFriday’s in America. Nonetheless, the food was still quite good – even crappy Italian food is better than anything you would get without a reservation back home.
I took EZ across the street to meet the people and felines of Torre Argentina, and we spent a few hours socializing with the cats. If you’re an animal lover – or, in my biased opinion, if you’re just a decent person with a soul – there’s something about being in the nursery area that makes you just want to stay a while. The center is divided into four main areas : an office and a medical room that are off-limits to the public, a main room where you first enter – this is where the makeshift gift shop and adoptable cat cages are placed, and a nursery/quarantine room separated from the main area by two gates that form a cat-proof vestibule. Any cat that is confirmed to be ill or is new enough to the shelter that they don’t know yet is confined to the latter. The healthy and adoptable cats are kept out of the nursery for their own health concerns.
In addition to those ill with infectious diseases, the nursery also houses the deaf, blind, and neurologically damaged cats; basically any resident that would have trouble exposed to the visitors or outside world. It is in this room that that spirit and beauty of the Sanctuary shows most. These are animals that, in the absence of this place, would be dead or suffering greatly. But here, they are loved and happy. Becoming cognizant of this reality, as you stand there, is what makes you want to just stay and soak it in for a little while. EZ was inclined to stroll around and get to know the situation of each kitty individually, I was more enamored with one little black cat who was blind.
I have a soft spot for the “neurological cats,” as the founder calls them. They have trouble walking or holding still in any one position, and it’s just heartbreaking to watch. I can vouch for the fact, though, that when they are done with being pet, their swipes with their razor-sharp claws manage to have a laser-sharp accuracy and effectiveness. They can eat and poop on their own, so I think their condition bothers me more than it does them, which is a good thing.
When it was time to leave the Sanctuary, we boarded a bus (with no tickets! Outlaw Country! Wooo!) to the Vatican. I guess I didn’t realize until typing this the irony of breaking the law to visit the Vatican. Anyway, it was a typical Vatican scene on this day – hordes of tourists, the occasional man or woman of faith on a pilgrimage walking about, and an assortment of people or trailers trying to sell you something. We must have just missed a mass or event of some kind, as there were thousands of chairs lined up across most of St. Peter’s Square.
From there we took a short walk to the Castel Sant’Angelo, which has served as a mausoleum, castle, and fortress over its 1,900 year lifetime, and is now a museum. I can’t confirm this independently, but I believe it also holds the world record for Most Difficult Museum to Visit with a Knee Problem. I never did check what kind of museum it was, actually, so for all I know it’s the official museum of irregular stairs, sharp inclines, and unmarked uneven surfaces. It is a fascinating place, though, with breathtaking views from the top, once you get there. The journey to the top from inside the castle gives you a creepy sense of very bad things having happened there. I would certainly shit my pants if left alone there at night.
After a long walk home, EZ and I agreed we would not do much else tonight and just relax. Only for dinner did we leave the flat again, to go to a trattoria around the corner in the Jewish Ghetto. The food was great, the portions were generous, and the place also became the first I have ever seen in my life and travels around the world where Coke and Diet Coke were different prices. Bravo.
Before returning home for bed, we took a short stroll over to Piazza Venezia, to sit and talk a while, and do some people watching. One of the people we watched was a man who may or may not have been homeless, but was most definitely intoxicated. “See that guy over there?” I whispered to EZ.
“He’s standing there with both hands over his junk. He’s either going to masturbate or urinate. Whatever he’s about to do, it’s going to end with ‘-ate’ “
With that romantic exchange, we thought it time to head home and share a bottle of Prosecco to unwind.
To learn more about Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary, click here.
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